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In-home community workers advice - COVID-19

This advice is for workers who work in a client’s home or a group home setting.

Who is at risk?

For many people, COVID-19 causes a relatively mild illness. However, it can make some people very ill and, more rarely, the disease can be fatal. These people include:

  • people aged 70 years and over
  • people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions
  • people with compromised immune systems, and
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over.

Many people requiring in-home care support may fit into this category. Some home care workers may also fit into these categories. That’s why it’s important that extra measures are put in place to protect these people from infection.

How can I protect myself and my clients?

Follow these simple steps to protect yourself and others from infection:

  • If you feel unwell, you should not provide in-home care to clients. You should also immediately notify your supervisor.
  • If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should avoid homes in areas with known community transmission. You should also avoid visiting homes where residents are in isolation or self-quarantine.
  • Call clients before each visit to confirm they do not have respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath). If they do have symptoms, you should tell your supervisor and not visit the client until it is safe to do so.
  • If a client has symptoms of a respiratory infection while you are at their home, you should leave straight away, clean your hands and contact your supervisor for advice.
  • Your supervisor should look into any reports of sick clients and seek advice from the client’s medical officer to understand when visits can safely start again.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, only visit clients who require essential in-home care. Regularly review how often clients need to be visited and adjust as needed. If possible, look into other ways of providing support to clients.

Where in-home visits are essential, follow the below advice:

If you need to drive clients to appointments, you should:

  • check if they have respiratory illness symptoms before transporting them.
  • avoid spending time in a closed space, such as a car, with somebody who has respiratory symptoms.
  • if possible, try and reschedule the client’s appointment.
  • if your client requires urgent medical assistance, call 000.

More information

Last updated: 8 July 2020